Some not necessarily original thoughts on the 2012 presidential election:
–Demographics, demographics, demographics. As has been pointed out endlessly, the United States is becoming less white by the day. And while Republican candidates for president continue to win majorities of white voters, 2012 may have been the tipping point for when that was no longer enough.
Unlike many of his fellow Republicans, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was clear-eyed enough even before the election to see the problem:
“If we lose this election there is only one explanation — demographics,” said [Graham].
“If I hear anybody say it was because Romney wasn’t conservative enough I’m going to go nuts,” said Graham. “We’re not losing 95 percent of African-Americans and two-thirds of Hispanics and voters under 30 because we’re not being hard-ass enough.”
In fact Obama got about 70 percent of the Hispanic vote, which increased slightly as a percentage of the total.
I predict that Mitt Romney will be the last Republican candidate to suggest “self-deportation” as an alternative to immigration reform.
Other major demographic differences: a majority of men voted for Romney and a majority of women voted for Obama. Younger voters favored Obama, older voters favored Romney. Lower-income voters favored Obama, upper-income voters favored Romney.
If Democrats have a “white male problem” (which they clearly do), Republicans have a more serious non-white male problem.
–Despite these trends, Obama’s support for the so-far successful federal bailout of the US auto industry helped him among blue-collar workers of all races in the industrial areas of states like Ohio and Michigan. Romney’s deceptive ads suggesting that Jeep was moving Ohio jobs to China probably backfired.
As a long-time advocate of naming and shaming wrong-headed pundits, I was pleased to see The Washington Post taking on the task. I especially savored this from Fox News’s reliably incorrect pundit Dick Morris, who predicted a Romney victory:
“You know, after the election, either I’m going to have to go through a big reckoning or [people who think I’m wrong] are. And you know what? They are.”
There have been some mea culpas, but of course none of this public humiliation will keep these fools from being called upon for their wisdom in the next election.
–While exit polls revealed that six in 10 voters favor a tax increase in one form or another, will Republicans in Congress continue to hold the federal budget and the economic recovery hostage to protect the wealthiest two percent of Americans from the same tax rates they endured in the dark days of the 1990s? Probably.
–Jewish voters went overwhelmingly for Obama over Romney. Not as overwhelmingly as four years ago, but still pretty overwhelmingly. I suppose some have been convinced by the Jewish right that Obama secretly hates Israel and is looking for the first opportunity to throw it under the bus. Based on his diplomatic and military support for Israel, however, most of us take him at his word when he speaks of Israel as America’s most important ally in the Middle East and affirms his administration’s “unbreakable” commitment to the Jewish state.
–Blame the voters. After George W. Bush beat John Kerry in the 2004 election, there was a spate of offensive snobbishness and ridicule from people on the left for the pro-Bush majority. Although I supported Kerry, and was disappointed that Bush had won, I thought this was exactly the wrong reaction, and I blogged about it here, here, and here.
Now consider the reactions from some leading rightwing pundits to Obama’s victory on Tuesday. Rush Limbaugh declared, “We’re outnumbered.” Here is what he said about the majority of voters who picked Obama over Romney:
They think that the only way they’re gonna have a chance for anything is if somebody comes along and takes from somebody else and gives it to them. Santa Claus! And it’s hard to beat Santa Claus. Especially it’s hard to beat Santa Claus when the alternative is, “You be your own Santa Claus.” “Oh, no! I’m not doing that. What do you mean, I have to be my own Santa Claus? No, no. No, no, no. I want to get up every day and go to the tree. You’re the elves,” meaning us.
(I’m sure all of Rush’s listeners are utterly self-reliant and never receive any assistance from the government.)
Fox Business anchor Stuart Varney warned: “With Obama’s victory, the takers have taken over. The makers are clearly in the minority.”
In other words, even after Mitt Romney tried to take back his notorious “47 percent” remarks, Limbaugh, Varney and others like them believe he got it more or less right the first time.
In 2004 I wrote:
Why do so many anti-Bush leftists insist on wallowing in moral superiority? Maybe it feels good for some; but if the task now is to build a Democratic majority, it is downright self-defeating.
You don’t build a majority by holding the majority in contempt.
Urgent update: This just in.